13th September 2013, Leh
Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary DARE and DG, ICAR, visited Leh and Chang-La in Ladakh during 13-15 September, 2013 in connection with a collaborative programme between ICAR and DRDO for setting up a National Permafrost Facility for storing plant germplasm, as a safety repository on the lines of Svalbard in the North Pole.
Senior officials and scientists from ICAR, DRDO and Indian School of Mines identified a hill location (500 diameters and 100 meters height) as a proper location. The permafrost facility that could be built over the period of four years is projected to cost approximately over Rs. 200 crores. It is to be established at a height of about 18,000 feet. It would be a unique facility for the purpose and efforts for preparation of a DPR are presently underway.
The National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi has been maintaining a germplasm collection of over four Lakh accessions in its Gene Bank at New Delhi. For long term storage and safety net against any disaster, it had been envisaged that a permafrost facility is established in Ladakh. An MoU had been signed with DRDO in August, 2011.
(Source: ICAR, New Delhi)